Paul Dolkos'  Baltimore Harbor District
Bill Day
Expert modeler Paul Dolkos hosted a layout open house with so much fine modeling one visitor said, ”I came to be inspired and I was, but also left somewhat intimidated.”

The layout, the Baltimore Harbor District, features Paul’s innovative structures using photographs supplemented by styrene cornices, windows and steps. The first coverage of such buildings appeared in the cover story of the October 2011 Model Railroader, followed up by more detailed article in the May 2012 issue. Paul’s coal yard was another cover story in the December 2012 MR.

The layout, set in 1955, includes Baltimore harbor operations and neighborhoods. Motive power includes that of the Baltimore & Ohio, Western Maryland, Pennsylvania and Canton Railroads, used on local switch jobs or transfer runs. Attention to prototype photos enables the layout to represent the harbor in er, verisimilitudinous, ways.

A car float revealed a variety of details down to the life preservers required by maritime rules. Asked whether the float was kit built or scratch built, Paul said the float is a Home Depot Special—a one inch board. The exacting barge structure showed us what expert craftsmanship can do with the most basic of materials. 

One feature of the layout that caught everyone’s attention was the CVP Easy DCC command control station mounted on keyboard drawer slides so it can be slid out of sight since its not used for normal operations. Also on this drawer mount is the programming track. The master control panel can also be used to operate the layout’s moveable swing bridge, although this is normally done with a wireless throttle.

All the layout’s trackwork is complete. He built his benchwork in two rooms, one used for staging. The benchwork is in part cantilevered off the walls, part normal tabletop benchwork, built with cabinet-grade 3/4 plywood covered with homosote.  In my experience, rarely has so much attention gone into the quality and strength of the benchwork. Engines performed flawlessly, gliding over scratch-built switches on the main line, spurs and in yards.
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